fognode::: – Beat Hollow

Beat Hollow

Normally I am not the biggest fan of ambient music. I mean, I love Brian Eno, but I favor his early work like Here Come the Warm Jets or Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). I tend to find Eno’s ambient work as not very grabbing, making for good, background music to which I can work. But fognode::: loses comparison to Eno’s later ambient work once the heavy drumming or guitar kicks in. fognode::: uses sound samples and a whole array of different instruments to give his (Brian Siskind) music a very organic feel. The music lulls along but forces the listen to take in all the sounds, thus never becoming a bore.
So Brian Siskind is the main man behind the instrumental fognode:::, playing drums, bass, pedal steel, synthesizer, and sounds/field recordings. Mark Fauver lends his musical talents by playing flute on a number of tracks. I find it quite humorous that the two have never actually met in person, but instead have only traded sound samples over the Internet. However, the addition of the flute works quite well, especially in Beat Hollow’s opening track, “The Day I Heard.” Although the album’s 10 tracks are surprisingly equal in strength, “The Day I Heard” is its most eerie and has that perfect soundtrack quality. “Sackcloth and Ashes” follows, retaining even more of a soundtrack quality as field recordings are put to use. The song is driven by pedal steel, giving away that the album was recorded in Nashville, Tenn. And Brian’s wife Sarah, a musician herself, plays acoustic guitar, which helps to keep the song playful.
“Mudrake” is dub and almost danceable with its beats and bass-heavy drumming. This song provides an example of the variety found on Beat Hollow. Each song is not simply a recycling of the song before it, as I tend to find is the case with releases of this nature. (About exactly what “nature” that is, I am not so sure.) “Mandala” is introduced and closed with Fauver playing the kalimba, making for an 80s Tangerine Dream comparison. The track is one of the more strictly ambient on the album. The title track provides a worthy companion to “Sackcloth and Ashes,” which is again driven by Sarah Siskind’s acoustic guitar.
Beat Hollow, fognode:::’s second album, does not contain the type of music where I could say, “Yeah, it’s good, but so and so did it better five years ago.” fognode::: sounds very fresh and original to my ears. Siskind’s only solo track on Beat Hollow, “The Fury of a Patient Man,” even rocks by its drum hammering alone. Each of the 10 sons can stand on its own, but the songs also organically flow into a cohesive album. Beat Hollow is a perfect album to go to sleep to, not because it’s boring, but because paying attention to each of the sounds is much like counting sheep.